When it comes time to serve your spouse with the divorce summons, the law requires that that parties to suits be notified of the action. It would not be fair, after all, to be able to litigate against someone who is not even aware of the proceeding initiated against them. New York Civil Procedure Law Section 308(1) provides that “[p]ersonal service upon a natural person shall be made by any of the following methods . . . by delivering the summons within the state to the person to be served . . . .” CPLR § 308(1).
It is important to note that you cannot hand your spouse the initiating documents for the divorce. Instead, it must be a non-party to the suit who must do so. Law firms often use process servers, which are outside companies who will serve papers on parties to suits. They will charge a fee for performing this service.
Serving the initiating divorce documents upon a party can present challenges, especially if they are often unavailable at home because of their work schedule. In addition, it is critical that the right person be served by the process server. Thus, clients seeking a divorce should ensure that they provide their law firm with details regarding their spouse’s appearance, vehicle description, dwelling quarters, and work schedule. In providing these details, a client can avoid potentially serving the wrong person.
Properly serving your spouse is an essential step in the divorce process. Errors in this process can add time and expense to what can be an already long and expensive process.